OTTAWA – Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair’s promotion to cabinet gives the Trudeau Liberals a political firefighter on the thorny issues of irregular migrants, gun violence and criminal syndicates.Blair’s move to the front benches in the newly created cabinet post of minister of border security and organized crime reduction also gives Justin Trudeau a new ally in a much broader ideological battle — combating what the prime minister calls the “politics of fear” practised by conservatives at home and abroad.Blair was one of five MPs promoted to cabinet in Wednesday’s shuffle, a pre-emptive move by the Liberals to prepare for the next federal election in 15 months.Trudeau faces complications from populist governments at home in Ontario under Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives and in the United States under President Donald Trump.Ford has clashed with Ottawa over the strains posed by an influx of irregular border crossers from the U.S. into Ontario, a problem that has also affected Quebec. The escalating tariff war and uncertainty over the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement — not to mention the complete breakdown in personal relations between Trump and Trudeau — has diminished Canada-U.S. relations.Blair’s new job will bring him face to face with provincial premiers as well as politicians south of the border. He will face challenges in both settings.Both are drug-related.At Queen’s Park, Ford’s emotions are reportedly still very raw over the fallout from police chief Blair releasing the infamous video of his brother, then-Toronto mayor Rob Ford, smoking crack cocaine in 2013.Blair’s clash with the Ford family capped what was at times a tumultuous decade as the city’s top cop.Blair will be drawing on his vast law enforcement experience to help find solutions to gun violence that in Toronto alone has left 27 people dead and 82 injured so far this year, compared with 17 deaths and 80 injuries at this time last year.“The best response is when all three levels of government come together,” Blair said after being sworn in at Rideau Hall.“I look forward for the opportunity to work with the provinces, territories, and with the municipalities across the country to address that concern.”In Washington, as Blair tries to stem to flow of northward migrants, he will face questions over Canada’s plans to legalize marijuana as of this fall. The Trump administration opposes relaxing restrictions on the drug.But Blair will be prepared, having stoically served as the Trudeau government’s main political spokesman on cannabis.It was lifetime away from the start of his career as a beat cop on the streets of some of Toronto’s toughest neighbourhoods.As chief, he would fight off calls for his resignation after hundreds of protesters were rounded up on Toronto’s streets during the G20 summit protests in 2010. He also clashed with both Fords at Toronto city council while fighting cuts to the police budget.Lisa MacLeod, the Ontario minister responsible for immigration offered hope of good relations, when she tweeted her congratulations to Blair on Wednesday, saying said she looked forward to meeting with him.That followed last week’s bitter clash between MacLeod and federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen when they met to discuss the impact of migrants.Blair’s new portfolio overlaps with those of Hussen and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.Trudeau played down any suggestion that Blair was being parachuted in to clean up a problem, saying he’s adding value to an already strong team.“Bill Blair has always stepped up in public service and we’re excited about being able to have him focus on this particular question within the larger areas of public safety and immigration,” said Trudeau.Trudeau said his first conversation with Blair — years ago when he was trying to lure him into politics — resonated with him now that he is in his cabinet.“He said the number one enemy of public security is fear,” Trudeau recalled.“When Conservatives across the country are playing the fear card we need strong, reassuring voices to counter that and to demonstrate that the safety and security of Canadians and their communities is something that we will never flinch on, that we will continue to deliver.”Conservative deputy leader Lisa Raitt said the shuffle would continue to lead to Liberal failures, partly due to Blair’s appointment. “I think what it’s saying is that this government is ready to take on the provinces and have a fight.”Raitt also took issue with the appointment of Jonathan Wilkinson, a North Vancouver MP, as minister of fisheries, saying that would isolate him from the fishers he will be serving because “the most turbulent place for fisheries is the Atlantic Canada coast.”Trudeau created a new seniors portfolio, appointing Hamilton MP Filomena Tassi to court a constituency that traditionally has a higher voting rate than younger people. The Canadian Medical Association applauded a decision it says gives seniors a voice at the cabinet table.Trudeau rounded out his new cabinet appointees by naming Toronto MP Mary Ng to the small business and export promotion portfolio, and giving her responsibility for the Business Development Bank of Canada.And veteran Montreal MP Pablo Rodriguez, who was government whip, was promoted to heritage, replacing the embattled Melanie Joly.— with files from Janice Dickson and Andy Blatchford
Johnny Depp’s legal team has reportedly planned to subpoena James Franco with respect to a defamation lawsuit filed against Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard. A video has been obtained by The Blast where James Franco allegedly met up with Heard just 24 hours after Depp and her fight where she claimed to have been beaten up by the Pirates of the Caribbean actor.The surveillance footage basically shows that Amber Heard and James Franco shared the lift of their apartment 24 hours post her blowout fight with Depp. Apparently, the Blast reports that Heard is riding the elevator down to the parking area. She then exits from the elevator but re-enters the elevator a few seconds later with James Franco. While the alleged fight left Amber with a lot of bruises on her face, Depp has refuted the claims. He stated that she “painted on” the wounds to garner “positive publicity.” Amber HeardInstagramFurthermore, in the defamation lawsuit that he filed in March, Depp claimed that Heard’s testimony was “conclusively refuted by two separate responding police officers, a litany of neutral third-party witnesses, and 87 newly obtained surveillance camera videos.” Despite a subpoena that has been sent to Franco, Heard’s attorney Eric M. George has deemed in irrelevant. George told E! News in a statement that the video featuring Franco and Heard is irrelevant to the claims. “Amber Heard and James Franco once lived in the same apartment complex and were simply taking an elevator at the same time. Period. Johnny Depp and his team have been trying—and failing—to place a salacious story based on this irrelevant footage for weeks. It’s pathetic,” he stated. James FrancoInstagramDepp’s attorney is not far behind with the war of words as the attorney shared a statement which reads, “We are interested in James Franco and Elon Musk as fact witnesses because we have evidence they are men who saw Amber Heard’s face in the days and nights between when she claimed Mr Depp smashed her in the face on May 21 and when she went to court with painted on ‘bruises’ to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order on May 27.” So far James Franco or his rep have not responded to the subpoena or the claims made by Johnny Depp and his attorney.
By KYLE POTTER, Associated PressST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress and a top official with the Democratic National Committee, filed to run for Minnesota attorney general Tuesday, saying he wanted to join the legal fight against President Donald Trump.A sixth-term lawmaker widely regarded as among the most liberal members of Congress, Ellison had been eyeing statewide office in Minnesota for months. He considered running for the Senate seat vacated by former Sen. Al Franken before backing Gov. Mark Dayton’s appointee, Sen. Tina Smith. And he weighed a run for attorney general until Lori Swanson, the current officeholder, decided to run for a fourth term this winter.In this Dec. 2, 2016 file photo, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., listens during a forum on the future of the Democratic Party, in Denver. Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, filed papers Tuesday, June 5, 2018, to run for Minnesota attorney general. Ellison, also the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, filed just hours ahead of a deadline. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)But Swanson changed course Monday, launching a late bid for Minnesota governor. Ellison and others pounced, filing for the office on Tuesday.“It was attorneys general who led the fight against the Muslim ban,” Ellison said after filing to run for the office, referring to Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. by visitors from several Muslim-majority countries. “I want to be a part of that fight.”Among the Democrats rushing to succeed Ellison in his liberal Minneapolis congressional district was state Rep. Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American Muslim elected to a state legislature in the U.S.Ellison’s first statewide campaign will likely be far more challenging than his congressional runs. He represents a solidly Democratic district in Minneapolis and some surrounding suburbs and has never faced a major challenger since first being elected to Congress in 2006. But outside the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota is more conservative and could be less receptive to his confrontational approach.Ellison co-chaired the House’s Congressional Progressive Caucus from 2011 to 2017 and recently assumed the charge of pushing to expand a Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care program. He has also served as deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee since 2017, after losing the race for its top job to Tom Perez. Both Ellison and the DNC said he would keep his spot as deputy chairman.By entering the race for attorney general, Ellison is taking on the state party’s endorsed candidate as well as longtime Democratic state lawmaker and former Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch. All filed for the office Tuesday.Several Minnesota Democrats immediately joined the race for the U.S. House seat Ellison holds. State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, a prominent voice on Hispanic issues, filed less than an hour after Ellison filed for attorney general. Former state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher also jumped in.Omar was elected in 2016 and said at the time that she considered her election to be a “counter-narrative” to then-President-elect Trump.Omar immigrated to the U.S. when she was 12, after her family fled war-torn Somalia and spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp. Her story is a familiar one in Minnesota, which is home to the largest Somali population in the United States. While other Somali-Americans have been elected to school boards and the Minneapolis City Council, she was the first to be elected as state lawmaker.Ellison said he wouldn’t endorse a successor.
Kolkata: Prakriti Organic Farmfresh India Ltd. (POFIL) is organising a three-day carnival of products at Salt Lake City Centre which will be inaugurated by state Technical Education, Training and Skill Development minister Purnendu Basu on Friday. “The state government has identified 120 clusters across the state under which more than 7,500 farmers have been involved in the production of organic vegetables. The farmers who have worked in this area have got assistance under the “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana” (PKVY) — a scheme under which farming is promoted through adoption of organic village by the cluster approach and PGS certification. Our aim is to enable people of the state to have organic products at a reasonable rate. The most important part in this venture has been the motivation of farmers in the state to adopt organic farming and the Bengal government has been successfully able to do the same,” said Mannu Chowdhary, Managing Director of POFIL. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsApart from a plethora of organic vegetables and fruits, the special attraction will be two varieties of mangoes — Amrapali and Mallika from Bankura and also export quality watermelons from Bankura. The Himsagar and Langda varieties of mango from Malda will also make it to the three-day carnival along with organic tea from Darjeeling and three varieties of rice — Tulaipanji, Gobindobhog and Black Rice. The state government is laying a lot of emphasis on production of organic vegetables as various studies have highlighted excessive use of pesticides in normal ones. The state is also holding two markets of organic vegetables — one at Bidhan Sishu Udyan in Ultadanga and another at Baguiati weekly.”We are processing the products in a scientific manner and packaging it mentioning the name of the farmer who has produced that particular vegetable so that customers can have a direct link with the farmer. A number of farmers will also be present at the carnival,” Chowdhary added. Organic products from Uttar Pradesh will also be a part of the event.
Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailMotorway police have explained why they closed the M6 motorway during a ‘major incident’ last night (Wednesday January 9). Police shut the carriageway in both directions between junction 15 and junction 16 after stopping a lorry carrying 27 migrants near Keele Services on the northbound carriageway. The southbound carriageway was also shut as emergency services detained and assessed the group. Officers from the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) have today explained why it was necessary to shut the entire motorway – and say they had intelligence to suggest there was a second lorry carrying migrants. A CMPG spokesman said: “A lot of questions why we didn’t take the lorry into the services. Read MoreInvestigation as THIRTY decapitated birds – including ducks and pigeons – dumped next to public footpath in Stoke-on-Trent “At the time we didn’t know which lorry it was and due to the immediate risk to life we had to start searching all lorries in that section which was after Keele Services. “We also had further information there was a second lorry but no details on which lorry it was. This lorry wasn’t found. We apologise for the delays and inconvenience but the actions we necessary. “Southbound was closed due to some of the 27 running away across the SB from the NB. Due to the potential of a second lorry we could not risk that happening again and a serious collision occurring.” Read MoreFacebook users warned over hoax message saying their private information is going to be made public TOMORROW Highways England first reported police were dealing with an ‘incident’ on the motorway at around 4pm – with the lorry containing the 27 people being stopped at around 5.45pm. The motorway was then closed until around 9.30pm, with hundreds of motorists trapped in the closure – including hundreds of Burton Albion fans attempting to travel to watch their team play Manchester City. A 42-year-old man remains in custody following the incident, Staffordshire Police confirmed this morning. The migrants, none of whom were seriously injured, were given a medical assessment and transferred to be interviewed by immigration officials. Four of those detained told officials they were under 18-years-old and are now being cared for by Staffordshire County Council. Read MoreStoke-on-Trent woman with ‘pattern for getting pregnant’ has children taken into care Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @SOTLive or message us on our Facebook page . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at StokeonTrentLive .